Archive for September, 2012

Getting ready for summer part 1

I’m trying to be a little more prepared for the prime growing season this year: sprouting for food was replaced with sprouting for the garden a while back.

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The strawberries have been in dirt for a few weeks now and they are sprouting real leaves. They’re so tiny! They’re in egg cartons in a plastic tub that I keep in the sunroom.

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The basil went into dirt today: it’s too early for outside planting but they should be ok in pots on the deck.

And this year, the tomatoes got the jump on me! These are self seeded from last year’s crop. I’ll put some seeds under glass to sprout soon.

BodgeMW part 2

Part 2 went better than I had hoped: no clamping issues because the screws held everything in place while I glued. Glue was standard araldite which I hope will be ok. I degreased with brake cleaner which is liquid magic. It’s curing in a sun- warmed car wreck now.

Dry run:

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Glued:

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You can see bodge spatula in the background.

Hopefully it will work. It looks and feels ok but it’s hard to work out how much force it will be subjected to. Even if it buys me a few months it will be worth it though.

BodgeMW

My beautiful old 1982 Ford laser gave up a while back and rather than yet another backyard fix I decided to upgrade to something a little more modern.

After a period of grieving and some half hearted looking I found my new chariot, a 1993 BMW 318is for a song. Problem is though, it’s still a bit old and not all of the bits work.

An example: the driver’s door handle didn’t open from the outside. The handle has this extended lever thing that had snapped. The dealer wants $422 for the part, with a different key that is have to get changed over if I want only one key for the car. Ebay wants about $200 inc postage. Ditto the key.

I figure it can probably be bodged. I’m replacing the cast triangulation with solid aluminum. I’ll screw and epoxy the pieces together. Here is the bodge attempt at the end of afternoon 1:

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The pieces go together better than that but I couldn’t hold and snap at the same time. Clamping will clearly be tricky.

A while back I disassembled a fax machine to see what kinds of bits it contained. I had the foresight to collect the screws together:

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And here are the six I’ve selected to hold this bodge together:

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Tomorrow I’ll start drilling and assembling.

The beginnings of a bean teepee

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Rooster logistics

We’ve been getting a few questions recently about the logistics of keeping roosters in suburbia so I thought I would write a bit more about life with our boys.

Hugh, with his girls

We currently have three (eek) roosters: two Araucanas (father and son Craig and Hugh) and a Light Sussex (Clock). We also don’t count any cockerels we may have growing out for eating at any given time – their first crow is sadly usually their death warrant by the following weekend.  We only plan to have two breeding roosters in the long term.  The reason we have three at the moment is that Hugh (the son) is bigger and better looking than Craig (the father), but Hugh got sick a lot in last summer and autumn and we a) kept expecting Hugh to just die, and b) were sure as soon as we decided he would be fine and knocked off Craig, Hugh would get sick again and die, leaving us roosterless.  So Craig has sort of been hanging around as a backup.  Plus Craig has a very sweet temperament (as does Hugh) and we do like to breed for calm chickens.

Craig, with his girls

(Much younger then) Craig in the kitchen

Clock, however, is a whole ‘nother story – he’s a bit of a bastard.  We were given Clock and decided to breed from him (replacing Red the RIR) because he is quite simply massive and we are breeding for meat.

Clock, in all his massive glory.

But as he has gotten older, Clock can be a bit aggressive and I won’t turn my back on him while in the main pen, nor will I let the 3 year old in the main pen anymore, which is sad for her.  So Clock will probably be heading for the great crock pot in the sky soon – his only saving grace at the moment is his fertility which is excellent!

We built a proper night box (documented here and here) to keep the roosters (Craig and Red at the time) quiet at night and in the morning.  Red kept crowing at random times in the middle of the night and it took us a while to work out that he was waking and crowing anytime our toddler was crying out in the night.  With our new baby due (last March) we knew we’d need decent night accommodation to keep him quiet!

The night box is divided in two so that we can keep two roosters.  Hugh and Clock sleep in it at the moment.  We hoped it would be soundproof, but it’s not, though it does severely muffle the crowing.  When Red slept in there we also used to have a portable radio hanging in there at night to provide more white noise to stop him waking and crowing at sounds in the night, but we haven’t needed this for the current residents.

Logistically, we pick up the roosters and put them into the night box at some point in the evening, usually after they have roosted, but occasionally before if we can be bothered catching them.  We then let them out in the morning.  On a weekday we let them at around 7am.  On a weekend it is more like 8 -10am.  The record lateness was the day our son was born this year – they didn’t get let out until 1pm when we got home from the hospital.  They were fine, just keen to get out!

The night box is sitting in the run of the main pen, so when we open the door Clock just explodes out of it and immediately starts chasing his girls.  Hugh knows to sit and wait until he is carried across the yard to his pen (where he also immediately starts chasing his girls).  Moving them twice a day is beneficial as it means that they are used to being handled.  This means that Hugh at least is quite tame.  Handling Clock a bit also helps to remind him that we are top of the pecking order, not him.

Moving them around twice a day is, to be honest, a colossal pain in the ass.  Clock is really big and I (SF) can’t quite get my hands around him enough to pin his wings down so I usually make WWMD put them in at night.  However, we think of it as a responsibility of keeping roosters in a suburban setting.  We have fantastic neighbours and we want to keep them that way!  We discussed with all our surrounding neighbours when we were thinking of keeping roosters, and they all assured us that it was fine.  Almost all of our surrounding neighbours have dogs that bark a lot (which we also don’t mind) so they were very understanding about animal noise.  We check in with them regularly to check that the crowing isn’t bothering them.  We also reiterate regularly that they need to let us know if the roosters start to bother them so that we can revisit the sound proofing, though thankfully this hasn’t happened yet.  Our bedroom is also the closest to the night box of all the neighbours so we should be able to hear a problem before they do!

There isn’t much we can do about the crowing in the day.  They usually have several crowing sessions throughout the day, and if one starts they all start up so it can be quite noisy at times.  Clock likes to stand up on top of the night box and crow his heart out.

That’s about all I can think of for now, but I’m happy to answer questions in the comments!

BTW did anyone notice that this is our 101st post?!  I can’t believe we have passed 100!

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